Daniel named top S.C. public school

CENTRAL — Daniel High School is South Carolina’s top traditional public high school, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings, released last week.
Only Charleston’s Academic Magnet High School and the Charleston County School of the Arts ranked above the Pickens County school.
“I am very proud of our students and teachers,” said Daniel principal Sharon Huff. “Our teachers maintain high expectations for student learning, and the students challenge themselves by taking rigorous courses. It truly means a lot to our school and community to receive this prestigious recognition.
“I also think it’s important to note that Daniel High is a not a magnet or charter school; we are a traditional public high school with a wide variety of students.”
Charter schools, which typically accept a limited number of students through an application process, are also exempt from some government regulations required of other public schools. Magnet schools use an application process that usually involves test scores and grade point averages to attract the most talented students in a region.
The fourth edition of the Best High Schools includes data on nearly 22,000 public high schools from 49 states and the District of Columbia. U.S. News partnered with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), which implemented the methodology for U.S. News’ rankings.
According to the U.S. News website, schools were first analyzed at the state level before the Best High Schools national rankings were determined.
Schools were analyzed in terms of how well students in each school performed on state assessments, taking into account the test scores of disadvantaged students (low-income, Hispanic, and black), who tend to score lower on tests. High schools that made it through this analysis were then eligible to be ranked nationally, in terms of college readiness.
U.S. News determines the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work by analyzing student success in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, both of which include college-level courses.
U.S. News awarded more than 4,850 gold, silver, and bronze medals to the top-performing schools.
“Daniel High School has a very long tradition of excellence,” said Dr. Henry Hunt, School District of Pickens County superintendent. “The U.S. News ranking is another affirmation of the quality educational program there. I congratulate Mrs. Huff, the administration, the faculty, staff and students on this accomplishment.”
Huff said the news will act as a launchpad for a successful finish to the 2011-2012 academic year.
“This news is definitely a boost to our morale,” said Huff. “What a great way to lead into the final weeks of the school year.”